Will You Ever Be Good Enough?

July 1st, 2014 by Sheryl Kosovski Filed Under: Articles

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When you’re facing serious financial or business difficulties, you sometimes get scared and desperate. You have trouble trusting yourself. You believe that if you had the ability to fix the situation yourself you would have done it already. The feeling of despair is so uncomfortable that you want relief right now. This is the danger zone when you feel so empty and alone and you think you need to fill this emptiness right now to find relief. You don’t want to feel all the hurt and fear so you may find yourself spending money on self help books or workshops, makeup or new clothes to distract yourself and numb the pain. You may also be scared that if you don’t work 60 hours a week or charge next to nothing for your work that you’ll lose your clients.

Often this is how you get into financial trouble. You don’t want to look to see what you’ve been buying or how much money you’re spending. You think that you can’t survive the pain of seeing the mess you’ve made, the money you’ve spent trying to either change yourself or numb the pain.

Most of us are trying to fix ourselves. We feel that if we could just learn one more skill, lose ten pounds, change the color of our hair or make more money that then we’ll feel better, be able to be happy, be worthy of being loved. I realized a while ago that I have been living my life as though I am not good enough. That there is always something that has to be fixed or something I still have to learn.

In my marriage my husband and I had been in collusion to fix me.  He would ask me to change the way I looked, talked or the work I did and I would try to change. Thinking that if I could just get this right then he would love me, want me, find me attractive. I remember a day though last year sometime. We were in couples therapy and my husband was explaining to the therapist some things that bothered him about me. The therapist then asked me if I would work on changing what ever it was and suddenly, surprisingly I found myself saying no. It finally hit me that I had been slowly killing myself off.  That I wasn’t recognizable to me any more. That it wasn’t my job to change myself into the woman that he sought. That he was supposed to love me no matter what. That I was supposed to love me no matter what and that I had never been able to do that. I needed to be a certain way, make a certain amount of money, weigh a certain amount and be my version of success in order for me to be willing to love me. I was never lovable just the way I was.

This is an excerpt from a book called “Women Food and God” by Geneen Roth, that really described this for me.

Eventually, we get so tired of trying to fix ourselves that we stop.  We see that we’ve never been able to make ourselves good.  Never been able to accomplish ourselves into being someone else. And so we stop trying. We see there is no goal, no end place, no test to take. No one is keeping score. No one is watching us and deciding whether we are worthy enough to ascend.  Eventually we see that it was the investment in the brokenness, the constant effort to fix ourselves, that was the very thing that kept the wholeness at bay.  If you think your job is to fix what is broken, you keep finding more broken places to mend. It’s better than being out of a job.

Geneen teaches a workshop on food addiction and received the letter below from one of her students. I have changed it slightly in places to better reflect how I feel.

 I realized how much I have done to make up for being myself.  How much I have strived to counter what I believe is wrong. I realize that no one is fundamentally damaged – that every baby is born with an intact sense of being themselves – but the architecture of my nervous system seems to be skewed in a particular direction: I have to make up for being myself. I can’t listen to impulses because if I (the damaged one) am having them, they must be damaged. And therefore, I have to do exactly what I don’t want to do because if it’s hard, if I suffer, it must be the right thing.  The hardness, the suffering will somehow clean the slate, cleanse the damage. 

 So much of my longing to “awaken” has come from a desire to be good. Like there’s a big mother in the sky who is watching what I do and giving me gold stars for getting up every day and meditating or exercising.  For working on myself so much, so hard, and for so many years. I am doing this all to get something that I don’t believe I have, to be someone I don’t believe I am. I am tired enough of the search – and not finding anything – that I am giving it up. It’s scary to say that. It feels like a sin to announce to the world and myself that I can trust myself. Now I am giving up the attempt to atone for being born as me. But I am ready. I can feel it in my bones.  I no longer believe that I am broken or that if I am, there is any way of fixing it. 

 Of  this I am certain: something happens every time I stop fighting with the way things are. Something happens to every one of my students when they stop running their familiar programs about fear and deficiency and emptiness.  I don’t know what to call this turn of events or the freshness that follows it, but I know what it feels like: it feels like relief.  It feels like infinite goodness.  Like distillation of every sweet fragrance, every heart-stopping beauty, every haunting melody you’ve ever heard.  It feels like the essence of tenderness, compassion, joy, peace, like love itself.  And in the moment you feel it you recognize that you are it and that you’ve been here all along, waiting for your return.

 This is how I feel lately. Finally feeling compassion for myself and seeing the beauty that I am, fat or thin, married or single, financially rocking it or not. I suddenly know that I will be fine because I can trust myself.  I have always taken care of me and there is no reason to believe that I won’t continue doing so in the future.

So I ask you to give yourself a break. Try to see the gorgeous person you already are.  See yourself as I see you, as a brave strong person who desires to give something of yourself to the world, amazingly talented and willing to face your demons. You are enough just the way you are. If you can own this the fear will subside and the great longing will quiet. If you are willing to look and need help cleaning up the financial mess or getting the word out about how great you are, I am here.

 

 

5 Responses to “ Will You Ever Be Good Enough? ”

  1. Very brave and self revealing topic. Also, very universal. Men have this too, just different. First, I had to be someone other than myself to get my (step) father’s approval. Then I internalized so I can never live up to my own high expectations of how I would be if I only was the person I’m supposed to be. You ARE enough is a message I have heard a lot. Sometimes I remember it. But for it to be transformitive I need to KNOW it in my heart & gut. Then I can go out and do what I love and be who I am without interference from all the learned crap.

  2. Sarah McMurray says:

    Sheryl

    I found this post so moving. I recognize aspects of the “Changing myself to be good enough” behavior in myself, and in almost every woman around me. It’s so inspiring to hear how you’ve moved away from this belief and the unhealthy behavior it creates in us. Thank you for writing about such an important topic.

    P.S. and I agree with everything Jillian wrote:-)

    • Deepak says:

      / I am typically blgiogng too, and I really respect your content. The article has actually peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking it for new information. Thank you and keep up the good work!

  3. Jillian K says:

    Great post, Sheryl! Love the honest and beauty in your words. You ARE good enough, you always have been and always will be. Be good to yourself and realize the profound impact you are making on others.

    • Sheryl Kosovski says:

      Jillian and Sarah, Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so grateful to have you both in my life.